zotz: (serious)
WRT the death of Antonin Scalia, and the obituaries and meconium thereof:

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It has been so long since I linked to a vid here that the method is unrecognisably different.

Also, from the generally highly readable Crooked Timber, this fair and balanced piece on Scalia's practical philosophy of law and society, including links to extracts from the author's book "The Reactionary Mind".

I hope your VD was suitably itchy pleasant. I think the only things I've said to anyone all day were "Just these please . . . cheers . . . thank you" to the guy at the corner shop.
zotz: (Reasonable and compassionate)
'Spineless' animals under threat of extinction, say the BBC.

Well, frankly, I don't see what they expect us to do about it. Nobody becomes extinct these days except by choice, and if they aren't prepared to put their back into it and their nose to the grindstone then it's really their own lookout. When my ancestors were facing extinction on the African savannah, did they sit back and moan about it? No, they did not. They got on their bikes and drove Homo erectus to extinction instead, and I think there's a lesson for us all there.
zotz: (Default)
Also, I was just in the shop and the Scottish Daily Abscess Mail had a front page story about how Scotland will be the first bit to have gay marriage imposed.

"Imposed".

Obviously, while I'm in favour of people being able to marry who they want, I'm against anyone being forced into a gay marriage simply because they aren't in a straight marriage yet. I hope that makes the situation clear.

Edit: Should have known it was the Mule rather than the Excuse - it didn't mention dead princesses. Sorry for the inaccuracy, and for the inexcusable lack of a reason to despair at the Mail. I'm sure another will come along in a few minutes.
zotz: (Default)
I'm amused by the Grauniad's mention today of "William Gibson's Neuromancer, a radical and difficult work which has become the set text of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre."

Obviously I'll never again need to feel hopelessly outclassed when people earnestly discuss Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow.

Also, this article in the world's most august scientific journal debates the claim that the budget spent on the Human Genome Project has produced a 141-fold return for the (presumably US) economy in the years since. If true, this would imply that my wages from that period benefited the wider world to the tune of at least tuppence ha'penny, which I'll have to mention the next few times I'm asked what I've been wasting my life on.
zotz: (Cropredy)
Which means that once more it's time for the annual hippy-herding expedition. Among other things, this means that the next time we talk I'll be in a position to tell you whether Status Quo are much cop as a live band these days. I suspect the answer's Yes, but I don't see any harm in finding out for certain.

I'll be out of touch, mostly, until about Sunday, so it's probably a good time to get on with all those disgraceful things you didn't want me to hear about. So enjoy yourselves, and remember - safe, sane and consensual (pick any two).
zotz: (Default)
Further to a couple of earlier mentions, some of you may possibly be interested in this story concerning yet more things that people can do while asleep. Also slightly scientific is this NS story on the increased fatality rates for the intelligent during the Great War. Slightly puzzling. Finally (for the storylinkage bit, anyway), Mice suspected in deadly cat fire. Seriously.

Just before Christmas (and again just after) discussion came round to Ulrich Haarbuurste's Novel of Roy Orbison in Clingfilm. I know some of you are doubtless tired of me mentioning it and extolling its virtues, so I'm just going to point out that Herr Haarbuurste has had his literary manager Michael Kelly put a Roy-in-clingfilm computer adventure up on his website. The novel itself is, of course, still available here. And no, I'm not on commission.

Also, as it too has come up in conversation a couple of times recently (in conversation, that is, with people who don't remember having seen it) here once more is my picture of the world's most Zen roadsign:

Read more... )
zotz: (Default)
In my ongoing quest to bring you only the most important international news, I may now reveal that top furry child-entertaining beat combo the Banana Splits are to reform for a new series. That page has a clip of the theme tune, but for some reason not the definitive version.
zotz: (primal)
Yes, it's a picture of me baring my torch. Obviously.

Writers Bloc had readings in Biggar and Prestonpans. Read more... )
Stephen Pinker gave a lecture for the Uni, which had to be moved up into the McEwan Hall due to demand. Contains swearing. Big, clever, funny swearing. )
Obviously at the end I did what I've done many times before - tried to work out what it says around the base of the dome. "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding: exalt her and she shall bring you to honour." Proverbs, chapter 4.

Much fun. After that I went out to Dalkeith country park for a drink with Jim the arsonist and his mates, which was also great. I found some lager in Tesco's called "Lech", which is a very funny name if you ignore it being Polish.

After that it was the Meadows Festival, which was a lot smaller than previously, but then it did have its legs cut out from under it in the meantime. This was the first one for two or three years, and pretty good for effectively a new first time. Hopefully it'll gather momentum again over the next few years. There was a genuine 9/11 conspiracy theory stall, which I didn't stop and ridicule in spite of the fact that I probably could get back in touch with a structural engineer who studied the collapse of the towers in detail - something that, famously, said wackos have never paid any attention to.

Yesterday I went to see Mark Stewart and the Maffia. Read more... )
I've been reading my new (i.e. the older) copy of My Friend Mr Leakey today, which has been fun. I've noticed one thing, though - where the Seventies printing mentions Negroes as the victims of a particular kind of African devil, the older one uses a different word. It still starts with N, though. Pinker had mentioned it as currently the most taboo word in US English. I guess that in Britain it was still OK to use it in front of children as recently as 1948.

On getting back from the gig (OK, and from the pub afterwards) last night, I found a mail from a ticket agency with a whole list of stuff I've no interest in and details of Amanda Palmer playing at the end of September. Well and good, although I notice that Dolls gigs do apparently still happen very occasionally . . .

However, that wasn't the eyeopener. Other Dolls are afoot. New York Dolls, in Glasgow, anyone? In a venue the size of (and probably, admittedly, with the aroma of) a gorilla's armpit? That sounds like a good deal to me. And a couple of weeks later, Swervedriver.

Swervedriver?

Now that's not a name I thought I'd hear again. Still, tempting . . . I wonder if Dave Hetherington knows about this? I may have to pass a message via CJ.

Mixed week in politics, of course, SCOTUS have belted Bush one in the bollocks over Guantanamo. Your friend and mine Antonin Scalia, however, seems by all accounts to have delivered a shameless dissenting statementlamenting the effects of the actual decision, which would fly exactly in the face of everything he said about the grounds for his beliefs when he spoke in New College last year. Ah well. Maybe he's been misquoted.

Over here, a certain disastrous vote went the wrong way (but was tantalisingly close) and a Tory MP has resigned to fight his own safe seat at a point when the government's in trouble. His party leader, one David Cameron, described the move as "courageous", presumably meaning by Sir Humphrey's definition of the term. The words "nothing much to be gained" come to mind - he's likely to find that his only serious opposition comes from the Sun. If it descends into a farce and he ends up making himself and his party look ridiculous, he will undoubtedly go down in history as a political genius for finding a way to make the government look good in spite of its recent misadventures.

And if you think that sounds harsh, listen to what some other people are saying - one shadow cabinet member said. "There is a slight hint of self-indulgence and a slight element of tragedy. David cannot come back in a bigger position. He can only come back as even more self-righteous, but will he be more morally pure with a majority of 1,500 over the Monster Raving Loony Party? He has walked the plank and this risks looking like a pantomime."

I must finally mention that Weegie popsters The Hussy's are playing FOR FREE at the usually-execrable-but-I'll-make-an-exception-this-time 3 Sisters (on the Cowgate, if you've had the good fortune not to have come across it) on Sunday. Actually, they're playing in Manchester, at the Dry Bar, on Tuesday and in London Village (Purple Turtle, apparently) on Wednesday, so some of you could do a lot worse than pop along. Sadly, I've no indication that the other gigs are free, but I'm sure you can, as the saying goes, check local press for details.
zotz: (Default)
Almost everything you ever needed to know about My Bloody Valentine:

The flute is not an instrument one usually associates with extreme noise terror, but, when My Bloody Valentine unleashed the show's crescendo, a track called 'You Made Me Realise', the instrument added an almost unbearable shrillness to what was already a blizzard of sustained sonic overload. As the tour progressed, the song became a thing of ever more terrifying beauty due to an extended white noise section that could last up to 10 minutes and was built around the repetition of a single chord played by Shields and his then girlfriend, second guitarist, Bilinda Butcher. Both had already suffered for their art, Butcher with a perforated eardrum, and Shields with the onset of tinnitus. Now, it was the audience's turn.

A Place To Bury Strangers are in Glasgow tomorrow. I have to buy earplugs. Anyone else fancy?

Also from the Absurder, "Since Dr No was released in 1962, James Bond has killed more than 150 men and slept with 44 women, three quarters of whom have tried to kill him."

That certainly puts my problems in perspective.

Yesterday's start-of-summer drink was cold and overcast, but it's good today and the ash trees at the bottom of the road are starting to come into leaf. I notice Luke Mitchell's appeal failed, too, which didn't really surprise me. There wasn't any good lab evidence, but that in itself isn't fatal - courts worked for centuries without it, and the jury didn't take long to convict. I hope they got it right, though. I'm glad it wasn't a decision I had to help with. William Beggs had an appeal mounted too, but I haven't heard what happened there.

Londoners may be pleased to know that the ongoing Telectroscope project is nearing readiness: "If you should happen to be in the vicinity of City Hall in London or the Fulton Ferry Landing in New York next Tuesday or Wednesday, you may see something strange going on. And on Thursday, 22 May, a Telectroscope will be installed at each end of the tunnel, and will open to the public for the first time." More information here.

And there's a new ballboy album soon too. Life is good.
zotz: (holding forth)
"And tonight I will be playing the part of a Quaker Buddhist Anglo-Catholic Agnostic . . ."

". . . and I will be playing an evolutionary biologist with laryngitis."

Read more... )

In other news, the plan for the Cowgate fire site has finally been revealed. I don't know yet if it's shite, but it wouldn't be unprecedented. At least they won't be levelling existing stuff to build on top of this time.

1: And he wasn't the only one - an atheist in the audience pointed out during questions that she could agree with everything Holloway had said - "join us" he replied.
zotz: (Default)
Well, I have a working 64-bit installation here, and yes it's fast. 2000*1500 onscreen also makes things look very very small indeed, but I like it. I don't know if I'll run it this hard all the time, but it's certainly nice to have the option.

I'm busily reading Capital of the Mind at the moment, which I heartily recommend - it's about Edinburgh and the Scottish Enlightenment. I haven't reached the bit about Hutton yet, but Hume, Adam, and various others feature very heavily. As you'd expect.

Kate and Tony were up over the weekend, and it was lovely to see then - after far too long a gap. Loads of other people came out of the woodwork to see them, so I had a great time talking to people like Richard Walsh, who I haven't seen in years. Fantastic stuff. I particularly enjoyed explaining The Broons to Kate, but it was all good. They've almost promised to come back to Edinburgh soon, which is almost good enough. Incidentally, I believe I have mentioned that you're all encouraged to come visit, but I'd rather like to emphasise that:

Come visit..

Thank you. This has been a public information announcement.

Further ramblings )
zotz: (Default)
There are, of course, two actually good christmas records out, and it's not quite too late for you to rush out, buy about a dozen copies each, and propel them via a great big boot to the arse all the way up the hit parade to the very top.

Christmas Number One, by the Black Arts (being, of course, a collaboration between Black Box Recorder and Art Brut), is a cautionary tale about the effects of having a big hit.

We're all going to die by Malcom "cheery bugger" Middleton is actually quite a bouncy little number . . . for a song about the fact that we're all going to die.

Not for sale, but running those two very close in excellence terms, is Nine Inch Nöels, which I commend to you all most highly. Probably roughly what you'd expect.

Grointag!

Dec. 7th, 2007 11:13 am
zotz: (Default)
gigantor - friday 07.12.07

So soon? Yes, we're afraid so. Before your hips have recovered and
your zimmer frames have cooled from their red-hot glow, it's already
time to run to the hills - or, if the mood takes you, run down to Teviot
for another installation of everyone's favourite longrunning SF-benefit
Edinburgh alternative nightclub
.

For the trivial fee of only two of your earth pounds you'll be able to dance
your way from nine at night until three in the morning, to the usual medley
of curiosities, alternopop and retro-microhits.

So: From 9pm on Friday, the 7th of December until 3am on Saturday,
in Teviot Underground ("The Park Room" to anyone sufficiently old),
for 2 quid. Non-students welcome to this fine building (the oldest
purpose-built student union building in the world) but please bring
photo-ID for the bouncers on the front door. They get hungry.
zotz: (Default)
The curse of Bladerunner has not been airbrushed out - Pan-Am, Koss and Atari are still prominently advertised. Drinks do rather better. You can still buy Coke and Black Label - in the same glass even, if you wish. TDK also survive.

The numbering discrepancy has been fixed.

Gigantor 23-11-07 )

Neon 25-11-07 )

More misc.

Dec. 1st, 2007 09:07 am
zotz: (Default)
I was highly amused by the comments of Donald Trump's point man in Aberdeenshire, George Sorial, on hearing that the council had inexplicably decided to throw out the overblown and environmentally damaging plan to build yet another sprawling golf course in the area.

Sorial defended accusations the Trump team had been "arrogant and patronising" in its approach. "There's a view we are arrogant. We are not arrogant. We set certain standards. It may be incomprehensible to smaller minds, but we have always set high standards."

Priceless.

Also, Hedy Lamarr has been accorded posthumous honorary membership of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists, which is obviously excellent news for fans of spread-spectrum communication the world over.
zotz: (Default)
I should have mentioned that on our way to see NMA we parked (well, I parked - there wasn't really any element of democracy in my driverly decisions) a couple of blocks the other side of the Umbrella and walked back. This took us past a Wetherspoon's pub called the Sir John Moore. Being who we are, we of course started looking for pubs called the Sir Luke Haines and the Dame Sarah Nixey. If I win the lottery, these may well happen. Of course, I'd have to buy a ticket first. Or cheat.

This brings us to the thorny issue of Christmas singles. These are widely deprecated, of course, but there are some remarkably good ones, as I'm sure I've previously mentioned. This year, I am told that there will be one by the aforementioned Black Box Recorder in association with the excellent Art Brut (the singer of the latter allegedly having phoned in his contribution from the top floor of a bus). Good though that sounds, I'm looking forward even more to a rumoured release from that cheery bugger Malcolm Middleton, lately of Arab Strap (don't ask). He plans to release a cheery little number called We're All Going To Die At Christmas.

You have to follow that last link, by the way, whether or not you would normally. As an example:

A few years ago I had quite bad depression and my mother - God bless her - saw fit to buy me a set of kitchen knives for Christmas.

Well, it made me laugh. Maybe it works better in context.
zotz: (Default)
Mine from nine days ago, and most of the sets from the most recent. In the latter case, I haven't bothered working out anything I didn't recognise, because I found it more amusing to type in what I thought they looked like. I'll pay for it in a future life, I'm sure.

Contains profanity and some pretty dubious music choices.

Read more... )

Much Misc.

Nov. 20th, 2007 02:29 pm
zotz: (Default)
1. Late Junction on Radio 3 tonight (11:15-1am) has something on Diamanda Galas.

2. The government are looking for buyers for Northern Rock: Steve Bell reports.

3. According to Thee Ackurssed Witchipedia, My Bloody Valentine sold out the Manchester Apollo in 30 minutes, Glasgow Barrowland in 15 minutes and the London Roundhouse in 6 minutes. Not bad for a bunch of feckless lazy slackers who haven't done a hand's turn in fifteen years, eh? Extra dates have been announced.

4. New Model Army were very good last week, although I'm told the Yorkshire gigs were much wilder. Less Chunder & Constipation this time, but more Ghost of Cain and Impurity (no Marrakesh, alas). The support band, Demander, from New York, were good although I'm told they too were better in Yorkshire. And not by anybody who's actually from Yorkshire, either. I'd not been to the Cathouse before. Tiny little place.

5. I've been vaguely been considering photographing all of my old concert tickets. Comically, it took me a while to remember that the new camera is actually capable of taking photos at less than full resolution. I'm also undecided as to whether this would really be worthwhile, given all the concerts I didn't have paper tickets for.

6. I was asked to do the seven-earworms memething a few weeks ago, and I still haven't. Sorry. I will.

7. The first chapter of "Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf" is up here. It's a bit odd, and not necessarily worksafe, depending on where you work. Not necessarily brainsafe either, for that matter.

8. Eight, I forget was eight is for.

9. Even on listen-again, you've missed the first of the new series of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. Unless, of course, you haven't.

10. There is no point ten.

11. But there is a point eleven - Paul Raven's Guardian obit finally arrived today - presumably they actually had to write one as they didn't expect him to kick it so soon. It's here.

Ahem.

Nov. 18th, 2007 12:16 pm
zotz: (Default)
Seth's take on Gigantor - for those of you who don't read the relevant communities:

as some people seem to give a shit about stuff like this these days, i should probably mention that we're a non-profit club - all proceeds go to the edinburgh uni scifi society to buy books and dvds. if you're a scifi nerd, you'll realise that this is a great idea. if you're not a scifi nerd, just be thankful that by buying them books and dvds, you're helping to keep them off the streets.

the 3 djs are all vegetarian or vegan, and we keep our records in a pleasant free range environment between gigs, feeding them exclusively on organically grown dust. there is however, an unavoidable necessity to cram them into veal crates in order to transport them to the venue.

we've been running this particular club for about 13 years or so, but some of the *cough* older djs have been doing this kinda thing for about 20 years now. despite that, we haven't really gotten any better at it, and no - we haven't got many new records, either :)


Friday, remember. I'll show you all the excellent flyer later. And the Screaming Banshee Aircrew with Rome Burns on Saturday, ditto.

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